Government moved yesterday to send United National Congress Senator Wade Mark before Parliament’s Privileges Committee for false allegations about National Insurance Board chairman Patrick Ferreira.
In the Senate, Government Leader Clarence Rambharat presented a case of this, calling for Mark to be referred to the Privileges Committee.
Senate President Christine Kangaloo subsequently said she would deliver her decision at a later date. But she then encountered issues with other UNC senators.
Rambharat said the matter concerned “certain unfounded, baseless and false allegations by Mark last Tuesday.” Mark had raised a motion calling on the Government to “explain its decision to appoint a nominee of the Government to the NIB board as chairman which is contrary to the National Insurance Act.”
Rambharat said, “(Mark) made several false allegations against the Government and Mr Patrick Ferreira, who was nominated by the Government to serve as NIB chairman.”
He said Mark claimed the following:
• Alarm was raised about Ferreira when he was the Chief Executive of CIC Insurance Brokers, and alleged “breach” of the Insurance Act, which eventually “saw him leaving the place of employment.”
• Ferreira “was debarred literally” by Central Bank, as CIC managing director.
• It is against the law for anyone in the insurance business to give a rebate on commissions and “this gentleman rebated a commission on a big homeownership policy plan.” He was “accused of engaging in unlawful action” by the Brokers’ Association and that was reported to Central Bank.
• On the basis of this report and subsequent enquiries by Central Bank, Ferreira “was removed from his position” as CIC managing director and “as such cannot practice any insurance activities.” Mark claimed he was “literally disqualified by Central Bank and the Brokers’ Association from holding any insurance industry post.”
• Ferreira “was unfit and improperly, illegally and unlawfully appointed.”
But Rambharat said, “Based on an enquiry made, the Central Bank of T&T has advised that no notice disbarring Mr Patrick Ferreira or disqualifying him from holding any position in the insurance industry has been issued. Further, Central Bank has advised a determination of culpability against Patrick Ferreira for breaching the Insurance Act has not been issued.
“The allegations by Senator Mark against the Government and Patrick Ferreira are therefore unfounded, baseless and false and as such, constitute a breach of Parliamentary Privilege. To ignore such conduct will send the wrong message to anyone and everyone whose character may be maligned and I daresay, in the case of Mr Ferreira, someone whose personal and commercial interests may be severely affected by Senator Mark’s false allegations.”
Rambharat said Mark committed contempt of the Senate by deliberately and willfully misleading the Senate; and grossly and recklessly abusing the privilege of freedom of speech.